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How to Know When It’s Time to See a Therapist

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

At some point, you might have considered seeking therapy. Maybe you convinced yourself that the issue will go away if you just waited a little bit longer. Or perhaps you're still unsure about whether you should talk to someone but don't think it's a top priority right now.

Finding the right time to see a therapist can occasionally be a challenge. Everyone experiences difficult times once in a while, but how can you tell whether talking to someone would be helpful?

The following list outlines some of the reasons you may benefit from speaking to a therapist. Of course these are not the only reasons to seek out a therapist, but this list can help you make your decision.

Stress is getting better of you

Life can be often stressful due to various reasons. You can’t get rid of all the stress in your life. In fact, some stress is good for you. But, if you’re having trouble managing your stress, you may want to talk to someone. Being stressed out can lead to a variety of issues, like being irritable and short-tempered or becoming inefficient and frantic.

A therapist can help you learn healthy stress management skills or they may assist you in problem-solving so you can eliminate some stressful aspects of your life.

You Are Having Difficulty Managing Your Emotions

Uncomfortable emotions, like anxiety and anger, can be tough to manage sometimes. And while you might have some emotions handled well, there may be one or two that seem to get the best of you more frequently. A therapist can help you practice anxiety reduction strategies that help you feel better faster. No matter what emotions you’re struggling with, a therapist can help you develop a plan to ensure your emotions serve you well.

You want to get rid of Unhealthy Coping Skills

Whether you’re overeating because you’re stressed out or you’re drinking to help you unwind, unhealthy coping skills will introduce new problems into your life and they backfire in the long-term.

Keep in mind that almost any coping skill can be unhealthy.

Watching TV, playing video games, or even reading books can become unhealthy if you use them to avoid solving problems.

A therapist can help you find healthy coping skills that reduce the intensity of uncomfortable emotions, while also helping you face problems head-on.

You’re Going Through a Major Change

Starting a new job, becoming a parent, ending a relationship, or moving to a new city are just a few examples of major life changes that might create a fair amount of distress for you.

Talking to someone might provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need to adapt to the changes in your life.

You Want Some Parenting Support

Parenting is tough and it can get scary at times. After all, how do you know if you’re giving your child too much responsibility or not enough support?

If you’re questioning your parenting skills or you have a question about whether your child’s behaviour is normal, talking to a therapist might be in order.

A mental health professional can empower you to make the best choices for you and your child.

You Want Help Processing a Traumatic Event

Traumatic events, like near-death experiences, don’t always cause people to become traumatised. People respond to traumatic events differently and sometimes, they’re able to process them in a way that they don’t develop PTSD.

A therapist can help you deal with a traumatic event. This could prevent you from developing PTSD or it may help you find more meaning in your life. It may even help you grow from your experience.

You Want to Change Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

Everyone experiences negative thoughts from time to time. These thoughts, which are mostly fruit of overthinking, can cause you to self doubt and lead into creating stress. In these cases it is important to remember to be kind to oneself and put a stop to these kind of self-harming thoughts.

The conversations you have with yourself matter. And the way you think will affect the way you feel and how you perform.

A life coach can help you develop a healthier inner dialogue.

You Don’t Feel as Happy as You Think You Could Be

There may be times when you don’t necessarily feel like anything is “wrong” but you feel as though you just aren’t as happy as you could be. You might not even be able to pinpoint why that might be.

If you feel like this, you might want to talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you identify if something is missing from your life or if there’s a strategy that could help you feel better.

You Suspect You Have Symptoms of a Mental Illness

There’s a huge range of mental illnesses—and symptoms that accompany them. From hearing voices no one else hears to experiencing moments of sheer panic for no particular reason, you’ll likely know when something doesn't feel normal for you.

Sometimes, however, people don’t seek help because they’re embarrassed. And often, people don’t understand their symptoms or why they can’t change their behaviour.

Mental illnesses are treatable, however. And the sooner you talk to someone, the sooner you may be able to start to feel better.

Keep in mind you’re in charge of your treatment. You get to decide what you talk about in therapy or whether you want to take medication.

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